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Just A Few More Details About the RIM-NTP Case

Posted on Tuesday 8 June 2004

NTP’s original suit involved eight patents; RIM is contesting the original verdict based on five of those patents:

    5,625,670, originally filed in May 1995 and granted in April 1997;
    5,631,946, also filed in May 1995 but granted in May 1997;
    5,819,172, filed in April 1997 and granted in October 1998;
    6,067,451, filed in September 1998 and granted in May 2000;
    6,317,592, filed in December 1999 and granted on November 13, 2001.

The original lawsuit was filed less than two weeks after the grant of the most recent patent.

The last two patents listed above (each captioned “Electronic mail system with RF communications to mobile processors”) were each filed after the RIM 950 handheld was released and RAM Mobile Data launched its interactive paging service based on that device in the US in early September 1998. (See this post for the timeline of RIM handhelds and BlackBerry evolution.) There was also an earlier RIM handheld, the 900, that saw only limited distribution.

The media is focusing on the devices (see this Reuters article, for example) but the suit seems to have little to do with the units; based on my quick read of the abstracts the five patents have more to do with the system of sending and receiving mail than the actual handhelds themselves.

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